For better or worse, the bulk of coal industry jobs are in Appalachia - and when that coal is gone, so are the jobs.
It may be too late for West Virginia to save itself from the ravages of Big Coal. But it's not too late for America.
In the world of energy politics, the sudden vanishing of the word 'coal' is a remarkable and unprecedented event.
But overall, Obama's record on the environment has been uninspired - and that's putting it kindly. He hasn't stopped coal companies from blowing up mountaintops and devastating large regions of Appalachia.
The biggest tab the public picks up for fossil fuels has to do with what economists call 'external costs,' like the health effects of air and water pollution.
You gotta love Rick Perry's swagger. The Texas Governor is out there in the Iowa cornfields, unabashedly going to toe-to-toe with President Obama, doing his best to instantly cast himself as the big dog in the Republican pack.